Divine Passions: The Social Construction of Emotion in India

Front Cover
Owen M. Lynch
University of California Press, Jan 1, 1990 - Social Science - 312 pages
0 Reviews
Naked holy men denying sexuality and feeling; elderly people basking in the warmth and security provided by devoted and attentive family members; fastidious priests concerned solely with rules of purity and minutiae of ritual practice; puritanical moralists concealing women and sexuality behind purdah's veils--these are familiar Western stereotypes of India. The essays in Divine Passions, however, paint other, more colorful and emotionally alive pictures of India: ecstatic religious devotees rolling in temple dust; gray-haired elders worrying about neglect and mistreatment by family members; priests pursuing a lusty, carefree ideal of the good life; and jokers reviling one another with bawdy, sexual insults at marriages.
Drawing on rich ethnographic data from emotion-charged scenarios, these essays question Western academic theories of emotion, particularly those that reduce emotions to physiological sensations or to an individual's private feelings. Presenting an alternative view of emotions as culturally constructed and morally evaluative concepts grounded in the bodily self, the contributors to Divine Passions help dispel some of the West's persistent misconceptions of Indian emotional experience. Moreover, the edition as a whole argues for a new and different understanding of India based on field research and an understanding of the devotional (bhakti) tradition. Naked holy men denying sexuality and feeling; elderly people basking in the warmth and security provided by devoted and attentive family members; fastidious priests concerned solely with rules of purity and minutiae of ritual practice; puritanical moralists concealing women and sexuality behind purdah's veils--these are familiar Western stereotypes of India. The essays in Divine Passions, however, paint other, more colorful and emotionally alive pictures of India: ecstatic religious devotees rolling in temple dust; gray-haired elders worrying about neglect and mistreatment by family members; priests pursuing a lusty, carefree ideal of the good life; and jokers reviling one another with bawdy, sexual insults at marriages.
Drawing on rich ethnographic data from emotion-charged scenarios, these essays question Western academic theories of emotion, particularly those that reduce emotions to physiological sensations or to an individual's private feelings. Presenting an alternative view of emotions as culturally constructed and morally evaluative concepts grounded in the bodily self, the contributors to Divine Passions help dispel some of the West's persistent misconceptions of Indian emotional experience. Moreover, the edition as a whole argues for a new and different understanding of India based on field research and an understanding of the devotional (bhakti) tradition.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

LOVE AND ANXIETY IN INTIMA TE FAMILIAL CONTEXTS
37
Dependency Anxiety Among the Elderly
64
Emotion and Person Among Mathuras Chaubes
91
Equalizing Marital
116
EROTIC AND MA TERNAL LO VE IN RELIGIO US CONTEXTS
157
The Devotional Experience in Pushti Marg Temples
182
Transformative Emotion in Ritual Dance
212
On the Moral Sensitivities of Sikhs in North America
239
The CrossCultural Dynamics of Mystical
262
CONTRIBUTORS
287
INDEX
295
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1990)

Owen M. Lynch is Charles F. Noyes Professor of Anthropology at New York University.

Bibliographic information